I would not be nearly as charitable to Glenn Beck as Steven Hayward is, but Hayward is correct when he points out that there is a serious imbalance between intellectuals on the Right, and activists on the Right. There are plenty of the latter, but not nearly enough of the former. I would go further than Hayward and point out that part of the problem is that the Right appears to be interested in far too many anti-intellectual (and proud of it) politicians who seek to be the standard bearers of the Republican party. I don’t expect political leaders seeking my support to be Oxford dons, but I do expect them to be serious intellectual figures–because after all, being a serious intellectual figure is part of the job if one seeks to be a party standard bearer, and potentially, a future President of the United States. Yes, charisma is important as well, and so is the ability to speak to the common folk, but if political leaders don’t demonstrate an ability to think and reason, they will be less apt to be successful with the voting public, and they will harm the political movement they claim to want to help.
We have plenty of activists, and far too many politicians who simply cannot handle the rigors of abstract thought. We need more Buckleys, Kristols (especially the Irving kind), and Friedmans. Without them, the Right will atrophy. It’s that simple.